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Independence & Interference

When the moment arrives for a daughter or son to pay bills on their own, how many parents can say their child will execute these tasks flawlessly? Why? Why not? First day on the job and a stressful situation occurs with a time limit for finding a solution, and it leads to your child facing uncertainty on how to solve a problem. Your child is in the hot seat and facing the prospect of losing or keeping their job in the eyes of the boss. How do you counsel your child? Should your child already have a frame of reference to answer that issue developed from interacting with you, the parent?

Okay, let’s slide those scenarios to a corner of the kitchen table and turn the clock back a few years to when your child was between the ages of 10 and 18. This period I believe holds the key cognitive period of growth and ascension for children for better or worse. It also holds a solemn and ceremonial period of duty for parents. What a parent says and does during this period holds massive consequences for children if not for the rest of their lives, certainly until they get out on their own and disavow some of the programming (yes we are like computers, what goes in determines what comes out).

Independence teaching goes to form, such as responsibility instilled in the child for passing K-12 with the best grades and average as possible. It holds true that the parent should merely supervise and allow the child to feel some pressure to pass each grade and progress in learning. After all, it is not the parent that needs to graduate High School. If the child receives an allowance, it is the parent stressing the need to manage money correctly because money management has implications for a stable adult life.

Interference arises in the development of a child when the parent feels the child needs to be saved from him or herself. Example. A daughter signed her name to a field trip and upon arriving home expects a parent to hand over the fees involved with the trip. Would you as a parent pay that fee without an advanced warning? If you do, you have interfered with that child’s development. A son wants to play football. The son signed up for the team and tells his parents later that day after they arrived home from work. Would you pay the fees associated with him being on the football team? If you do, you have interfered with your son’s development.

Independence is intertwined with interference. Children don’t spend their parents’ money without asking do they? Let’s take a view from an entirely different familial system. A male lion selects a lioness and mates with her. The lioness has cubs and takes responsibility for their care (although the bulk of running a pride lies squarely with a lioness group i.e. hunting, teaching, shelter and so on which sounds a lot like the human females’ duties) and protection. When the males reach adulthood, their father pushes them out of the pack. Why does this happen?

The independence children must attain is ordained in nature and it cannot be interfered with by anyone! By the way, the cubs have now become a threat to the dominant male and must be run off to establish their own kingdom. Interference in this instance can lead to a lion fight with the strongest emerging the victor. The father usually wins if there is a challenge and the cubs (his children) would avoid such a confrontation at all costs.

Independence is not an absolute construct or concept that exists solely in a protected domain of solitude. I would go so far as to say that not one mammal, hot or cold bloodied, walking, crawling or flying makes it from birth to maturity on his or her own dime. I know, many people, mainly Americans, will swear up and down they are a self-made person.

You know, as a kid I used to twirl around in place until I stopped abruptly. The world seemed shaky and unsteady in that moment, but I thought it was fun. Just because I twist the truth or bend the reality behind me that helped me become the person I am today; it still doesn’t make the critical help I received to become independent to be explained away in a footnote.

Take for instance the changing face of the workforce as it concerns manufacturing. Mostly 30 to 40 years ago the jobs to be had were in manufacturing. Machines were repaired with tools like hammers, pliers, wrenches and screwdrivers. Now machines are diagnosed and fixed at a computer terminal. Granted, jobs will never be obsolete to the point where tools are not needed, but we can interfere with the natural gravitation call to train in the skills that have changed the job market.

The bedrock principles of having the right job skills at the right time does not change, only the format does. Hammers and brute strength can’t answer the factory whistle today. The changing face of skills should not be met with interference. If a company, a town, an employee wishes to maintain the status quo, then independent thinking demands risk taking in securing an uncertain future. In other words, change before it’s too late or all you’ll be doing is running to catch a train you see in the distance that’s starting to pull away at an incredible speed.

Listen to this one truth if you choose not to listen to anything else. “Human beings (humanity) becomes closer to each other through shared hardships. If we all believe that the troubles others face have little effect on our lives, then the principle of ‘we’re all in this together’ holds little meaning when applied in our day to day lives.”

I can understand the lure of braggadocious rhetoric to describe how I achieved success alone in a world that prizes such fantastical tales. Only, the reality doesn’t fit the fantasy, which if spoken to the wrong people will arrive on them destructively. Everyone needs a mix of independence and interference, which if appropriately discharged and accepted could signal enormous success to a person’s life no matter their bank account.

An expanded outlook to view things differently with passion and purpose could serve you well. Just try.